With a big social push for environmental awareness, many organizations are looking for more eco-friendly and sustainable ways to run their businesses and produce their products. It’s a win-win situation for the planet and the companies, as conscious customers are likely to go out of their way to buy sustainable products and even spend more if they know a business is environmentally friendly.
No matter the industry, every business leader can find ways to make a positive environmental impact. This is especially true of the highly visible culture space, which may influence a broader audience than the average business. For guidance on how to get started, eight members of Rolling Stone Culture Council shared their tips for business leaders who want to set better examples of sustainability.
Start With Your Office
I think one of the first things leaders can do to create better sustainability is to look around their office. I understand most of us are currently working from home, but there are so many little ways for businesses to be more sustainable. Switch all of your accounting to online so there is no paper or printing happening, pay attention to the goods you keep in the kitchen for clients, etc. – Sydney Ferleger, The Music Playground
Look Into B Corp Certification
The conventional wisdom in business is that, as a business owner, you can either make money or you can do good. However, this is a false dichotomy. You can make money and do good and this is where a B Corp certification could come into play. Unlike traditional businesses that give priority only to financial profitability, B Corps look at the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet. – Harrison Wise, Wise Collective Inc.
Share Your Goals and Actions With Your Team
When you make a change in your office or systems to support an eco-friendly initiative, make sure you tell your team about it and why you did it. Sharing the changes we make and why is super important because that’s what’s going to make the dominoes fall. It’s going to make more people feel inspired to look into making these changes themselves. – Cassie Petrey, Crowd Surf
Maintain Sustainability Within Your Core Operations
As millennials and Gen Z are spending more of their money on brands that align with their values, such as sustainability, businesses should maintain those values within their core operations. Businesses could highlight practices such as using recycled materials in product development, prioritizing efforts to be carbon neutral or even promoting sustainable practices within the office place. – Ashley Deese, Smithsonian Institution
Partner With Environmentally-Focused Charities
We are in the event production business, and unfortunately there is a lot of waste within that space. To offset this, we have partnered with Tree-Nation for our new company initiative where we will plant a tree in the Amazon for every event we produce on behalf of our clients. We want to do what we can to offset climate change and the wastefulness that tends to occur in our industry. – Sarah Sebastian, Rose Gold Collective
Play With Prices so You’re Able to Make Donations
Thinking sustainably means you might need customer buy-in of a price increase. The purpose here is to create scarcity by making the consumer think before purchasing. The retailer then needs an identifiable social governance group to donate to. This strategy is a win-win if you don’t have a discounter around, because it also allows the consumer to feel they have taken action and with ease. Who said it had to be hard? – Michael Polk, Billboardology.com
Be Bold and Transparent
So many things are over-engineered for convenience and profit margin, but it’s often to the detriment of the environment, like single-use plastic and packaging, for example. Don’t be afraid to trade some conveniences to make a statement, much like the buzz recently around drinking straws. Be clear and honest about your efforts; don’t use spin to garner eco-points. – Matt Blackburn, ORDER
Take One Strategic Step at a Time
I believe in taking one step at a time. Be strategic and let your changes evolve over time. For example, it’s not realistic for us to suddenly change all the brands we sell at once. But, every time we go on a buying trip, we can seek more sustainable brands to sell that we make genuine connections with. Eventually, those brands will crowd out the less eco-friendly brands, but we’ll have done so thoughtfully. – Buck Wimberly, ULAH, LLC / ULAH Interiors + Design, LLC